We can never decide what we like better, when the national news notices us, or when the national news notices us and gets our culture wrong.
Yesterday, the Food Network released a listicle of “What to Nosh in the North Star State: Minnesota's Most Iconic Dishes” and got us mostly right, even remembering to include pho. All the usual suspects are there, including the Jucy Lucy, wild rice soup, and hot dish, though they highlighted Haute Dish's deconstructed version of hot dish instead of the classic kind we're truly known for. ("The yuppie hotdish would have made my grandmother stab them in the face," was one response in the newsroom.)
There were a few gratuitous inclusions too, like blueberry walnut pancakes, the turkey burger, and Turtle Cake. While Al’s Breakfast, the Birchwood, and Cafe Latte may very well serve signature versions of each, respectively, that doesn't make them representative of the whole state. It certainly shouldn't force us to claim the turkey burger, simultaneously the worst way to eat turkey and the worst burger.
And while we are pleased that there is no statewide crisis-inducing grape salad on the list, no self-respecting Minnesotan would ever, ever call bars “bar cookies.” It’s either bars or cookies, or bars and cookies, preferably the latter.
But they did get a lot of stuff right, and we must tip our hat to those:
For their smoked fish pick, it’s not just any old trout, but the superior flesh from none other than Northern Waters Smokhaus, out of the chilly waters of Lake Superior, and an all time fave of ours.
Swedish meatballs, while probably best consumed in the church basement for greatest effect, are undoubtedly rendered ethereal by Erick Harcey at Upton 43, and Food Network is wise to direct out-of-towners to that fine establishment. No more pedigreed Minnesotan chef currently exists than Harcey, and just watch as he dons his camo jacket after plating those meaty little gravied-up wonders.
And speaking of wonders, I find it a wonder that it’s still a little-known secret that the Bachelor Farmer is serving the original recipe of Dayton’s Oak Grill popovers. This thanks to Eric and Andrew Dayton's ownership of the Bachelor Farmer restaurant, and we guess, ownership of the recipe too.
Every time we tell a Dayton’s mourner (coming out of the woodwork now more than ever in light of Macy’s shuttering) that they can get their beloved, towering golden pastries at the trendy North Loop spot, they’re gobsmacked. So thanks for the reminder, Food Network. You got that right too. Gone from Dayton's, maybe, but not gone forever.
A few suggestions to take the place of the turkey burger's undeserving slot: sweet corn, lake fish including the noble walleye, venison (even Arby's knows this), and booya!
Time to visit South St. Paul, Food Network. See how Minnesota truly eats.